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‘Kodakan’ (Promoting Filipino Heritage in America)  

President Franklin D. Roosevelt said these words in 1943: "We have faith that future generations will know here, in the middle of the twentieth century, there came a time when men of good will found a way to unite, and produce, and fight to destroy the forces of ignorance, and intolerance, and slavery, and war.” Fast forward to the year 2017 and what President Roosevelt said 74 years ago is still relevant.
We again witness ignorance and intolerance manifested by rising anti-immigrant sentiments and attacks in the U.S. The rise of bashing incidents, violence, and hate crimes against immigrants and people of color have been fanned by conservative and nativist rhetoric that depicts immigrants as a “baggage to American society” rather than the realistic picture of hard working people who contribute their talents and labor to make America a better country.
The Filipino community in America is not immune to the anti-immigrant trend.
The fact that Filipinos have settled in North America long before Alaska and Hawaii became the 49th and 50th states, and even before the Philippines was granted independence by the United States, does not exempt our community from the immigrant bashing that is happening around. We need to continue educating mainstream America about who we are and the contributions that we have made as a people in American society.
Education is an important component but reality check tells us that there is not much written about our history and culture as a people in the U.S. Even in cities and places where there are many Filipinos, historical materials and studies about Filipinos are not always available and accessible in libraries, resource centers, schools and institutions of higher learning.
There are many immigrant stories that need to be told, many photos and multi-media materials that need to be gathered, stored, and shared so we can tell our own story about our community. There should be no more waiting. With the immigrant bashing going on around, the time to do this is now.
With the advancement of information and communication technology and the extensive use of internet and social media in our daily lives, we can now expect that our own narratives and Filipino heritage can be easily and properly documented. It is also much easier now to store information for future generations.
There are many activities and developments in connection with this undertaking to promote and preserve Filipino heritage in the U.S. particularly in San Francisco.
First was the recognition and adoption of the city’s South of Market area as the Filipino Cultural Heritage District (SoMa Pilipinas) on April 12, 2016. Last year, a number of our community members also shared their stories through the StoryCorps and the Center of Asian American Media.
This year the Filipino community in partnership and cooperation with the San Francisco Public Library came up with the project “Kodakan Photo Day: Shades of San Francisco: A Search for Visual Filipino History of San Francisco.”
“Shades of San Francisco” is embracing the mission to collect and copy photographs from the family albums and private collections of current and former San Francisco residents. These photos will then be exhibited and added to the San Francisco History Center’s photo archives to create a permanent record of the daily lives of San Franciscans as well as the historical, political, and cultural contributions of the many neighborhoods and ethnic communities that make up the City and County of San Francisco.
Shades of San Francisco (Kodakan) will take place for the Filipino community on May 13, 2017 from 10am to 4pm at the San Francisco Main Public Library (100 Larkin Street in San Francisco).
We should support this noble cause. On photo day, please bring copies of your photos from your photo albums, loose photographs, and digital photos, including old materials and literatures about Filipinos and the Filipino community in San Francisco so the library will have more archival collections about us and our contributions as a people to the San Francisco community as a whole.
Let us continue to promote and preserve Filipino social and cultural heritage in America.

Jojo Liangco is an attorney with the Law Offices of Amancio M. Liangco Jr. in San Francisco, California. His practice is in the areas of immigration, family law, personal injury, civil litigation, business law, bankruptcy, DUI cases, criminal defense and traffic court cases. Please send your comments to Jojo Liangco, c/o Law Offices of Amancio "Jojo" Liangco, 605 Market Street, Suite 605, San Francisco, CA 94105 or you can call him (415) 974-5336.

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Asian Americans Advancing Justice applauds Federal court order blocking revised travel ban

  • Published in U.S.

Stewart Kwoh, president and executive director at Advancing Justice-LA. (credit: Keyang Pang)

San Francisco - A Federal court in Hawaii blocked a second attempt by President Trump to ban Muslims from entering the country.

"We applaud the court for recognizing the blatant discriminatory intent behind the executive order," said Elica Vafaie, Staff Attorney and Program Manager at Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Asian Law Caucus. "If this is implemented, it will have devastating consequences for our communities."

"Muslim Ban 2.0" is merely one of the administration's attempts to strip away basic civil rights and target Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim and South Asian immigrants and other immigrant communities.

"We refuse to return to the era of Japanese Internment where the government led the way in profiling people because of their national origin," said Laboni Hoq, Litigation Director at Asian Americans Advancing Justice-LA.

Since the first Muslim Ban was released, the Advancing Justice affiliation has:
1. Helped hundreds of travelers understand their rights through our "Know Your Rights" materials and presentations;
2. Provided legal support at airports across the country with our partners to ensure compliance with court orders and represented individuals at the airport; and
3. Created model policies, starting in San Francisco, to prevent the federal government from attacking Muslim communities in other ways, such as a Muslim registry.
With such threats at hand, Asian Americans Advancing Justice is committed to protecting our communities.

"Even with the Muslim Ban halted, our communities continue to be targets of hate. We are asking people to report hate crimes at standagainsthatred.org," said Megan Essaheb, Assistant Director of Immigration and Immigrant Rights at Asian Americans Advancing Justice - AAJC

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Know your rights against pushy ICE Agents

Question: I’m so afraid to open my door now. I’ve heard ICE agents are doing round-ups and just deporting people left and right. What can I do?

Answer: All people living in the United States, including undocumented immigrants, have certain US Constitutional rights. If you are undocumented and immigration (ICE) agents knock on your door, know that you have the following rights:
• You do not have to open the door. You do not have to open the door or let the officers into your home unless they have a valid search warrant signed by a judge.
o An ICE deportation warrant is not the same as a search warrant. If this is the only document they have, they cannot legally come inside unless you verbally agree to let them in.
o If the officers say they have a search warrant signed by a judge, ask them to slide it under the door or hold it up to a window so you can see it.
o If the warrant does not have your correct name and address on it and is not signed by a judge you do not have to open the door or let them inside.
o If at any point you decide to speak with the officers, you do not need to open the door to do so. You can speak to them through the door or step outside and close the door.
• You have the right to remain silent. You do not need to speak to the immigration officers or answer any questions.
o If you are asked where you were born or how you entered the United States, you may refuse to answer or remain silent.
o If you choose to remain silent, say so out loud.

o You may show a know-your-rights card to the officer that explains that you will remain silent and wish to speak to a lawyer.
o You may refuse to show identity documents that say what country you are from.
o Do not show any false documents and do not lie.
• You have the right to speak to a lawyer. If you are detained or taken into custody, you have the right to immediately contact a lawyer.
o Even if you do not have a lawyer, you may tell the immigration officers that you want to speak to one.
o If you have a lawyer, you have the right to talk to them. If you have a signed Form G-28, which shows you have a lawyer, give it to an officer.
o If you do not have a lawyer, ask an immigration officer for a list of pro bono lawyers.
o You also have the right to contact your consulate. The consulate may be able to assist you in locating a lawyer.
o You can refuse to sign any/all paperwork until you have had the opportunity to speak to a lawyer.
o If you choose to sign something without speaking to a lawyer, be sure you understand exactly what the document says and means before you sign it.

In fact, your immigration attorney should give you a ‘know your rights card’ which you can show the officer.

Brian D. Lerner is a certified specialist in Immigration and Nationality Law as approved by the California Bar, Board of Legal Specialization. He has been a certified specialist for over 15 years and has been practicing law for over 25 years. The Law Offices of Brian D. Lerner will give you a free consultation and has offices in Long Beach and Carson, California and Quezon City, Philippines. You can e-mail Brian Lerner directly at blerner@californiaimmigrati on.us or make an appointment by calling 562-495-0554 or self-scheduling an appointment at blerner.checkappointments.c om. Either way, he will try to help you and your family.

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